Yvonne Messenger catches a wave.
Yvonne Messenger catches a wave.
Image: Yvonne Messenger

When Yvonne Messenger — the owner of Exacc Consulting, which provides outsourced financial-director solutions for private-wealth clients and smaller entrepreneurial startups — and her husband Scott aren’t hard at the grind, they hit the road: exploring, eating, and being active. Here’s her guide to grand getaways.

Last place you visited? Hawaii, via Japan.

Why did you choose it? My husband is turning 40 this year, and Hawaii was top of his bucket list, so we decided to celebrate by travelling. I struggle with long, back-to-back flights, and we decided Japan would be a good culture-and-foodie stopover destination for a couple of days.

What’s next on the list? Northern Atolls, the Maldives.

What’s next on the list? Northern Atolls, the Maldives.

Are you a business-class flyer? When luck is on my side, yes. Emirates is by far the best I have experienced. Holiday-planning tips? Spend time doing research before your trip. I find it makes all the difference when trying to squeeze everything out of the generally limited time you have in a new place.

Travel essentials? Wallet, cellphone, passport, Rooibos tea, and Nivea Creme. Everything else can be dealt with, one way or another.

Favourite African destination? Zanzibar.

Slow Lounge, Standard Bank Library Lounge, or Bidvest Lounge? I have considered moving banks just to get into the Slow Lounge! But the SAA lounge, generally.

Vital travel tech? Noise-cancelling earphones and my Kindle.

Best meal you’ve ever eaten on a trip? Hands down, the Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.

The Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana.
The Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana.
Image: Paolo Terzi

Top foodie destination? My absolute best thing about travelling is to explore and discover the local food scene. Experimenting with and trying out different foods is a major part of any trip. If you put a gun to my head, I would probably go with Italy and Japan as my top food destinations.

Most disappointing travel spot? I believe in making the most of wherever you go, but I’d probably say New York City — we just didn’t find that it matched up to the hype. Not to say we didn’t enjoy it; just that we didn’t enjoy it as much as we thought we would.

The biggest, best surprise on a trip? A 3pm phone call from Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena (number one on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) to tell us that they had a late cancellation and to ask whether we would be able to fill the booking and join them for the degustation. 

Monterosso, Italy.
Monterosso, Italy.
Image: Yvonne Messenger

To actually eat there, as a tourist who had tried everything to get in for months before travelling to Italy; who had visited the town of Modena just to see the restaurant from the outside, only to be turned away; and then to get the call, which I almost didn’t answer, was a truly unforgettable experience.

London or New York? London.

Best hotel you’ve ever stayed in? I prefer smaller, boutique bed-and-breakfasts or Airbnb, and so don’t often stay in hotels per se. That said, the Vida Downtown hotel in Dubai is incredible.

Your idea of a relaxing getaway? Anywhere where there is water.

Must-visit shops and restaurants in a city you visit often? Baker & Spice, Tom & Serg, and La Petite Maison in Dubai. Ottolenghi, Padella, Granger & Co, and Pret a Manger in London.

Surf destination you’d recommend? I’ve only been surfing for two-and-a-half years and so my surf trips have been fairly limited. But Sri Lanka was mind-blowing.

From the April edition of Wanted 2019.

© Wanted 2019 - If you would like to reproduce this article please email us.
X